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Polymath Tadd Mullinix has used several pseudonyms, including James T. Cotton and JTC for ill-tempered house and techno, and Charles Manier for probing industrial/EBM hybrids, but he's known most for the artful hip-hop beatdowns he has dealt as Dabrye. Prior to debuting his rap alias, the native of Ann Arbor, Michigan -- by way of Gulf Coast Florida and Metro Detroit -- had released ragga jungle with Todd Osborn as Soundmurderer & SK-1, and under his birth name recorded a set of avant electronica entitled Winking Makes a Face. One/Three, his concise 2001 debut as Dabrye, succeeded Winking within four months as the second album released by local label Ghostly International. Early admirer Scott Herren, aka Prefuse 73, compared its hybrid of off-center beatmaking and clipped IDM accents to Jay Dee and Autechre. Herren released the looser and slightly warmer follow-up, Instrmntl, on his Eastern Developments label in 2002. Through 2005, as the wait for the trilogy's second installment continued, Mullinix added to the Ghostly discography with a couple 12" releases and a brief compilation. First was Payback, featuring a Prefuse 73 megamix on the flip side, then Game Over, on which Mullinix was granted verses from Jay Dee and Phat Kat, major enhancements that boosted the producer's profile. Later on, Additional Productions, Vol. 1 combined a fraction of Dabrye remixes with a previously unreleased production and a live version. These supplemental offerings led to the 2006 release of Two/Three, an hour-long session densely packed with sounds ranging from synths as cold as anything that came out of late-'70s Sheffield to drums as rugged as those off the streets of mid-'90s New York City. East Coast legends such as MF Doom and AG, and revered Detroiters including Invincible and Guilty Simpson, were among the contributors. At this point, Mullinix had also accumulated credits on tracks by Prefuse 73 and Thomas Fehlmann, and for the next several years he continued to stack secondary credits through collaborations (Beans, Platinum Pied Pipers) and remixes (King Midas Sound, Vast Aire, Illum Sphere, Paul White, and the Orb). There was also another 12", Get Dirty, fronted by AG. Meanwhile, a wave of beatmakers -- including those associated with the Los Angeles beat scene -- cited Dabrye as an inspiration. As he remained active with his other aliases and the operation of his Bopside label, Mullinix made a full return to Ghostly as Dabrye in late 2017 with "The Appetite," a single featuring Roc Marciano, Danny Brown, and Quelle Chris. Three/Three arrived the following February with several previous collaborators -- as well as Ghostface Killah and Clear Soul Forces -- selected for input. The completion of the trilogy was coordinated with a reissue campaign that included a box set.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo
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